Over 1,000 VIP guests attended a glittering gala dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Sunday 12th November, to honour the winners of the 7th Asian Curry Awards, organised by the Asian Catering Federation.
The awards were co presented by BBC Master Chef’s Greg Wallace and BBC and former Sky TV news anchor Samantha Simmons.
Michelin-starred Benares’ Atul Kochhar was named Chef of the Year.
There was a Special Recognition Award for Asma Khan, whose new all-female brigade at Darjeeling Express has received widespread critical acclaim.
Outside London, The Chilli Pickle in Brighton was named Best Causal Dining Restaurant, Lemon Grass Best Chain and Greenleaf the Best Outsider Caterer and The Rajdani near Sevenoaks the Best Asian Restaurant in the South East.
The Asian Curry Awards recognise the best in the industry, encouraging ever higher standards and to inspire the next generation of chefs and restaurateurs to join the dynamic sector.
In his keynote speech ACF chairman Yawar Khan acknowledged the problems facing Asian restaurant owners, but highlighted the success of those willing to embrace change, raise standards, update menus, invest in marketing and stop competing on price.
Guest speaker David Caro of the European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) travelled from Brussels to announce the formation of the Asian Hospitality Federation Europe (AHFE) – a joint initiative with the ACF. AHFE will work to serve as a platform for business to business relationships, bringing together Asian-European entrepreneurs and major opportunities to members.
Caro reported that the European hospitality sector directly employs more than 10 million – a around 16.6m jobs – a 7.8% of the European workforce or one in every 13 jobs in Europe. The overall turnover is more than 1 trillion Euros (gross value added of more than 460 billion euros), over 8% of total European economic output and 3.7% of GDP.
Curry boss unveils plans for £5M Yorkshire culinary centre of excellence project with grand dining and leisure facilities
Bradford is set for a major £5 million development which will provide the city a unique multi-cultural dining experience under a massive 60,000-square-foot site.
The project has been forwarded by Saleem Akhtar of the Jinnah Group who already runs successful restaurants in Bradford and the North. He's looking to combine four of five different ideas together as part of the new development.
It will consist of a hotel with 25-bedrooms, restaurants, banqueting and conference facilities, while also running an academy for training up chefs and service staff in a ‘struggling industry’.
The welcomed landmark development will offering a multi-cultural buffet service, which will offer up to 100 different dishes of cuisine from around the world.
The restaurant itself will have a seating capacity of 500 and it will feature a car park with up to 300 spaces. It's predicted that this project will create between 150-250 jobs.
FIRST LOOK: This is an artist’s impression of what the multi-million-pound development by Jinnah Group could look like
Situated opposite the current Jinnah restaurant in Bradford on Filey Street (off Leeds Road), the mega-development will see a complete overhaul of the former Royal Bank of Scotland building.
Managing Director Saleem Akhtar spoke about the development and Lloyds banks' eagerness to get involved with the project. He said: “The initial purchase was by us, but Lloyds bank were very keen to get on board and be part of the landmark development.
“Bradford is known as the nations ‘curry capital’ catering for the whole country as we have people travelling from all over for our food, this will offer something new for the city.”
Saleem, who is fronting the project, explained his journey and how he came up with idea he said: “I’ve been in the industry 25-years and been all around Yorkshire, ranging from York, Harrogate, Scarborough, Sheffield, Leeds and now Bradford.
“It was my children who persuaded me to come back to Bradford and create a family restaurant.
“Since August 2015 it’s been a great success in Bradford as it’s the only purely family-orientated restaurant in Bradford, I noticed during this time the need of a large establishment with a diverse range of cuisine.
“There are very good Persian, Kashmiri’s and Indians (restaurants), but I want to create something different where I could potentially give them Mexican, English, Thai, Chinese and more.
“Largely Asians can’t go to a pub, hotel or restaurant as 99% of places don’t serve halal food, and settle for a curry as it’s the only halal choice.”
Saleem then spoke about Bradford and why he felt this was an appropriate location for his project he said: “Being here in Bradford, looking at the catchment area and trade, after a while here I soon realized this was the market that was required and I could use world food to help expand us.
“There isn’t really an equivalent in the country for the range of foods that I have got planned, I’m looking at eight to ten different cuisines under one roof, it will be exciting for the Asian market to have change and experience something new.”
Saleem also spoke about the training and employment opportunities that will be crucial to the project and the future of the food industry in the area.
“In the last ten years the industry has really struggled in recruiting kitchen staff and waiting staff. It’s a very tough job. It’s hot in the kitchen - not everyone can do it.
“We used to have people come in from the subcontinent for work in this industry, but with new tight immigration rules that has stopped and the industry is struggling now to get staff.”
Saleem then revealed details about the training academy. “It is a large enough premises and I am going into partnership with Mr Zulfi Karim who fronts the World Curry Festival.
“Negotiations are ongoing with local colleges for course accreditations - this will include written courses as well as practical courses, which will help the industry and employment.
“Our group employs 200-people and other groups in Yorkshire are struggling for staff so we will be training youngsters to get jobs as we are all struggling and we need people.”
In terms of the process behind the project there are still a few things to sort out and a couple of years before the project is brought to life. Saleem commented: “The development is in the hands of planning at the moment but there are green signals.
“By the end of August, we will receive the end results of planning, and we hope to start developments at Christmas time or early January 2018, with the first phase set for the end of 2018 and looking at opening in 2019.”
Saleem give a brief overlook at what else the project will feature when finished: “There’s much planned for our patrons - things like hotels, conferencing, banqueting, a Mediterranean a la carte restaurant as well a ladies spa on the rooftop.
“There’s a lot going on, it’ll be something different for Bradford.”
SPICE QUEEN: Parveen Ashraf hails from Bradford, which has held its title as Britain’s ‘Curry Capital’ for four years
This lady is on a mission to teach the nation to cook Indian and believes that her book 'Parveen The Spice Queen' is her secret weapon - well not that secret really as it’s available to buy!
Proud of her culture and cooking, a tumour-defying local mum brings together the flavours of Asia with a huge dollop of Yorkshire common sense.
After successfully defeating a serious illness, Bradford-born Parveen Ashraf arrived at a pivotal juncture in her life, and decided to leave the corporate working day behind and turn her passion for food into her career.
The 51-year-old married mother-of-three has been fuelled by the desire to cook for the man in her life and her children, for whom she believes is essential to provide good, wholesome and healthy food.
For almost a decade, Parveen has taught Indian cooking, run cookery demonstrations and catered at glamorous Bollywood-themed dinner parties. Now, she brings all of this experience to life in her step-by-step cookbook.
Her first book ‘Parveen The Spice Queen’, includes every favourite traditional delight including Chicken Masala, Lamb Bhuna and Samosas.
KITCHEN TOOL: Beautifully illustrated and full of anecdotes from Parveen’s childhood, this book belongs in every kitchen
But what makes Parveen’s culinary masterpiece stand out is her innovative “spice bags,” which are little parcels of pre-mixed spices designed to work hand-in-hand with her recipes, taking the fear and uncertainty out of Indian cooking.
Parveen recognised that there had been a shift away from traditional cooking and that more and more people were relying on ready meals and jars to fit in with a busy lifestyle.
“Even in Asian families, the art of cooking was being lost and this struck a chord,” says Parveen.
“Having been asked to teach the daughter of a family friend how to cook simple Indian meals in preparation for getting married, I realised that so many young people today did not know their way around a kitchen and appeared scared to even give it a try.
“Hopefully the combination of my book and the spice bags will give even the beginner the confidence to try.”
She recalls that the focal point of family life was family meal times when all seven siblings, mum and dad would sit down to the evening meal, eat chat and spend time with one another, she says of her childhood that was a wonderful time "were like the Asian Waltons!"
Parveen’s real love affair with food began in the 70’s watching her mother and big sister cook “amazing food” and all her recipes are based on the ones her mother used to use.
The only difference, says Parveen, is that her mother “cooked by eye” and didn’t actually measure anything. Parveen's recipes are thought through very carefully with each gram of spice being weighed precisely.
Parveen designed a pre-made “spice bags” out of sheer necessity when her son, Imran, left home for university. She wrote a few recipes and emailed them over to him.
Unfortunately, much to Imran’s dismay, the dishes did not turn out the way he wanted, so she blended a few sachets of spices and posted them off to him.
Despite her journey has being full of ups and downs and at times sheer hard work, now her determination, patience and perseverance has paid off with the launch of her book.
She says “It was bitter sweet time as I had lost my mother a few months before and naturally the book is dedicated to her.”
Ever since taking their first order in 1965, Ambala’s has been a name synonymous with homemade cooking and flawless service.
Today the business is run by the third generation of the Chowdrey family, still serving up platefuls of fresh samosas and lamb karahi on a daily basis, with fluffy naan breads and crispy poppadoms proving the perfect sundries.
The eatery, on Great Horton Road, displays a great resilience of passion and complete devotion to delicious food, thanks to its dedicated chefs and knowledgeable staff.
Haaroon Hussain, the manager, said: “We do takeaways and deliveries but people will travel for miles around to come and try our kulfi falooda, which is utterly indulgent and aromatic.”
With a great atmosphere, Ambala’s is the perfect back-drop to any occasion, whether it is a birthday party or a romantic meal.
“Indian food is our speciality,” Haaroon said. “Our Biryanis are powerfully hot, flavoured with fragrant spices.
“There are of course more mild options available too, as well as a selection of handmade sandwiches and donners.”
Customers also love the burgers, and rightly so. Each one is jam-packed with fresh salad, fried onion, slices of cheese and burgers that are melt-in-the-mouth.
“Everything is made to our own authentic recipes,” Haaroon added. “Some of our most famous dishes are still cooked up the same way as they were in 1965 whilst others change with the times.”
Asian Express ordered the mix grill which came out sizzling. Each bite was tender and perfectly cooked.
To wash it all down, we tried the Honey Nut Shakes – a blend of bananas, honey and pistachio which was heaven in a glass.
Open every day, there’s no excuse not to go down to Ambala’s for some of the very best curries Bradford has to offer.
205-207 Great Horton Road,
Tel: 01274 503200
(free delivery within a two mile radius on minimum orders of £12)
ENTERTAINMENT: Janet Jaye provided fabulous entertainment in her show-stopping dress
One of Bradford’s most well-loved soup kitchens celebrated the festive period last month by serving up their 20,000th meal at their annual Christmas party.
The Curry Circle – run by the Muslim Women’s Council - hosted the celebratory event for service users on 22nd December at the Carlisle Business Centre where over 200 people bonded over delicious meals.
As well as bringing people together to celebrate the festive period, the event also marked the third year anniversary of the Curry Circle project.
Service users, faith representatives, volunteers and business owners all celebrated the festive season with Christmas meals, sponsored by Mercure Bankfield Hotel.
Guests were entertained by singer Janet Jaye, who performed lively musical numbers in a sparkling fishtail dress to a packed audience.
MERRY CHRISTMAS: Guests were treated to festive treats such as roast potatoes and parsnips
Bana Gora, CEO of the Muslim Women’s Council, said: “The party was a great way for service users to celebrate Christmas, alongside three years of serving those less fortunate within our communities.
“We would like to thank all our volunteers and supporters, especially MyLahore, SKT Welfare, Accent Group and The Hilden Trust.”
Sandeep Kaushik, manager at the Mercure Bankfield Hotel, added: “Mercure Bankfield is proud to be associated with the generous and commendable work that Muslim Women’s Council is doing to promote community spirit in Bradford and Keighley.
“The Bankfield Hotel has been a part of Bradford history for the last 70 years and hopes to continue working with the community and the Muslim Women’s Council.”
CURRY CAPITAL: The winning restaurateurs with Lord Mayor Geoff Reid and members of the ‘Visit Bradford’ tourism team
The humble curry is having a bit of a moment in Bradford, as the city has cooked its way in a flurry of spice and tastiness to its sixth consecutive win in the esteemed national competition.
The winning teams behind this year's Curry Capital competition gathered in the grandeur of Bradford’s City Hall on Thursday 1st December, to celebrate the tremendous win.
Hosted by Lord Mayor Councillor Geoff Reid and his wife the Lady Mayoress, the official awards presentation celebrated the record-breaking achievements of those involved in Bradford's 2016 Curry Capital Bid, as the city retained the title for another year.
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, said: “To have been crowned Curry Capital for the sixth consecutive year is a great honour and a fantastic accolade for the city. I would like to thank the team behind the bid for working tirelessly to keep a hold of the title.”
Guests at the event were welcomed into the City Hall with a drinks reception and followed by afternoon tea before the teams were awarded with official Curry Capital trophies.
Among those receiving awards for their contribution to the competition were: Shabir Hussain of Akbars, Fawad Shoukat of Aakash, Mohammed Rafiq of Kiplings and Faisal Hussein of Shimla Spice.
Each year, the entry is co-ordinated by the tourism team at Visit Bradford – the destination marketing organisation for Bradford Metropolitan District City Council.
Tricia Tillotson, tourism manager at Visit Bradford, said: “To be named as Curry Capital of Britain for a record-breaking sixth year in a row is amazing and we're very grateful to all of those who have been involved in this years’ bid.
“It has been an honour to receive an invitation to such a prestigious event by the Lord Mayor to celebrate the achievements and success of all those who helped to make the 2016 bid bigger and better than ever.”
The event was attended by Colleen Groves, the wife of the late Peter Groves, founder of the Curry Capital Competition. Mrs Groves praised the Bradford team for their level of co-operation and the promotion of community throughout the competition.
Other guests included Soraya Overend and Jacqueline Vicars from Bradford Ministry of Food Centre, who held a workshop as part of the Curry Capital BID which taught people from Fresh Start 4 U to cook curry with ingredients from the Curry Capital garden. The Fresh Start 4 U project helps substance abusers with their addictions and is one of several community projects supported by Bradford's 2016 Curry Capital bid.
DELIGHTED: The Curry Capital of Britain team representing Bradford and District, celebrates sixth successive win of the title
Visit Bradford, the tourism department for Bradford Metropolitan District Council, has achieved the unthinkable, bagging a double hat trick after being crowned the winner of the Curry Capital of Britain competition, for six years in a row.
The team continued its winning streak with its bid this year focusing on the theme of celebrating achievements.The restaurants chosen to represent Bradford this year were Akbar’s in Thornbury, Aakash in Cleckheaton, Kipling’s at Greengates and Shimla Spice in Keighley.
This year, Bradford’s bid to win the hotly-contested accolade for a record-breaking sixth consecutive year kicked off with a special Curry Capital Olympics event, followed by a traditional garden party celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday and a dedicated fire safety campaign in conjunction with the Yorkshire Fire Service.
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, portfolio for Environment, Sport and Culture at City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, said: “To say I’m thrilled is an understatement – I’m absolutely over the moon.
“Each year our bids have to be bigger and better than ever before to retain our crown of Curry Capital of Britain.
“To win the award for a record-breaking six years in a row is testament to the hard work and dedication of our team .
“I’d particularly like to thank the Visit Bradford team along with all of the participating restaurants and other stakeholders who have got involved and backed our bid; without out them this just would not be possible. Also I’d like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for us in the competition.
Judges praised the team at Visit Bradford for their Curry Capital events, activities and charitable contributions surrounding the competition. Colleen Groves, one of the founders of the Curry Capital Competition said: “‘It is a well-deserved victory. The Bradford team members work so well together to best demonstrate the level of cooperation and community spirit that already exists in the city.
“This is the kind of community cohesion that Peter Groves envisaged when he set up the competition 15 years ago.
Building on what has now become known as the ‘Bradford Blueprint’, each year Visit Bradford’s entry into the Curry Capital of Britain competition works to promote community cohesion through a mutual love of Asian food, while raising much needed funds for charitable causes, such as the Curry Tree Foundation.
Tricia Tillotson, tourism manager at Visit Bradford, said: “Each year the competition gets tougher; the expectation for us to produce an award-winning bid grows with every time we win the title, plus other cities continually up their game and certainly give us a run for our money.
“As well as thanking everyone who has made this unbelievable achievement possible, I’d also like to congratulate all of the other cities taking part in this year’s competition.”
Kipling’s is an award-winning restaurant that’s been based in Sowerby Bridge for six years.
The Kipling's brand was created 22 years ago upon the opening of their first restaurant Greengates, Bradford.
The team have a passion for authentic Indian and Pakistani cuisine and a desire to present it combined with Western influences.
The name was inspired by poet and writer, Rudyard Kipling, author of ‘The Jungle Book’, who lived in India.
Kipling’s is not your typical ‘curry house’, as the flavours and spices are truly authentic to India and Pakistan.
Rafiq, the owner, said: “We won the ‘Outstanding Restaurant of the Year’ at the English Curry Awards last month, which is great as we’re only a small 50-seater restaurant and we were up against some big names.
“Our chefs and kitchen staff work tirelessly and always put 100 per cent effort into creating superb dishes, which of course helped us win the award.”
Kipling’s has also been part of the winning team for Bradford’s Curry Capital of Britain and partnered up with Bradford College to create a record breaking 114kg Samosa which made it into the Guinness World Records book.
“The emphasis here is a one-to-one link with our customers and regulars,” Rafiq said.
“Coming back to our award, the title is given to outstanding restaurants. The judges were looking for something different and I’m glad we delivered.
“Throughout the year, we have helped various local charities. We made a major donation to Overgate Hospice, which cares for adults with life-limiting illnesses.
“We also volunteered at their garden party, and were the first ever caterers from outside their staff who were allowed to go on their site.”
Kipling’s have also supported local schools throughout the year, too.
“That’s a massive thing for us. We’ve approached schools in the area to ask them and have opened the doors to our kitchens for the day, so students can find out about Indian and Pakistani food.
“The kids received a full dining experience with us. On top of that, there’s a special needs high school in Halifax called Ravenscliffe, where kids from different ages - from 12 to 17 years old – can cook in our kitchen at lunchtime.”
Rafiq believes being a good restaurateur is more than just ‘putting a plate on the table’. His aim is for his eatery to become a major part of the community.
He adds: “Our success is ultimately down to how we gel our community amongst our business.”
SINGING CHEF: Aamir Iqbal is a TV chef who often sings along as he cooks was seen soaking up the atmosphere
From a glittering gala dinner and master classes with world famous chefs, to street vendors cooking up incredible street food, the World Curry Festival got off to an amazing start at the weekend following its official launch at Bradford Cathedral on Thursday 15th September.
The World Curry Festival have been spicing up Leeds and Bradford between 15th and 29th September where hundreds of local people have enjoyed Israeli, Punjabi, Gujarati and even Islamic langar.
The Honourable Dato’ Haji Abdul Malik Kassim, the Malaysian State Minister for Religious Affairs and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs from the State Government of Penang, was at the Curry Festival last Thursday.
He said: “2016 is now the seventh year of Curry Fest. We were in Bradford and this year we’re in Leeds. It’s even more diversified this year because of the idea of gastro-diplomacy and we’re highlighting this even more this year.”
Singing chef, Aamir Iqbal added: “I enjoy my cooking my food in the kitchen but to make it even better, I sing along too. I do a lot of things in Karachi. I teach food production at a university over there, I do a live-cooking show on TV and I have a consultation company. Here in Bradford, Asian people are now turning towards Mediterranean food. Our slogan is ‘food brings people together’. The best part of the Curry Fest is faith in food - we go to all the religious places of worship and bring people together.”
ICE CREAM DREAMS: Cooling Kulfi icecream was a top choice for the sunny Autumnal day
Zulfi Karim, Founder of the World Curry Festival commented: “We’ve had a fantastic first weekend. From Indian fine dining to street food, from master classes to cooking classes, we’ve experienced it all. Our chefs have come from far and wide – Pearly Kee from Malaysia, Amir Iqbal from Pakistan and Chef Oberoi from India. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported us including our main event partner for the weekend – Kala Sangam Arts Centre.”
Other events in Bradford over the last week have included a special master class to mark the International Year of Pulses hosted by Jenny Chandler, The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation Special Ambassador for The Year of Pulses; Faith in Food at three different venues – Bradford Synagogue, Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara, and the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple; a Bollywood party at Mercedes-Benz of Bradford; a VIP hospitality event at Bradford City Football Club; and an evening of curry and comedy with Hardeep Singh Kohli.
A festival finale event will be dedicated to the legendary Chinese-American chef – Ken Hom OBE is taking place on Thursday 29th September.
HONORABLE GUEST: State minister for Malaysia, Mr Abdul Kasim, graced the festival with his presence and was enjoying how diverse the event was this year
SHOWING THE LOVE: Organisers are inviting those with a passion for food and cultural events to get involved this year
Arriving on Yorkshire’s doorstep for 15 days of flavours, sights and sounds from around the world is the spiciest food festival around – the World Curry Festival.
The countdown to Yorkshire’s ‘spiciest food festival’ has begun, with just over a week to go.
The World Curry Festival is a vibrant, fun and fresh event that brings people together in celebration of their love of food, culture and entertainment.
Traditionally held over a long weekend, the event has attracted a huge following since it was first established in Leeds in 2010. The festival now takes place in Yorkshire and Malaysia each year.
Zulfi Karim, Founder of the World Curry Festival, said he was excited to see this year’s festival span across both Bradford and Leeds, giving more people a chance to get involved.
“Our key objective is to bring people together and curry is a great way to do this,” he said.
“We have an exciting new format, which has created new venues and partners across the region. Special events include our launch at the magnificent Bradford Cathedral as well as an appearance from the legendary Ken Hom OB.
“We would like to thank our sponsors – Coca Cola Enterprises, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Morrisons, Mercedes-Benz of Bradford and Turkish Airlines, and our many supporters including Kala Sangam who will hosting our Food Exhibition at St Peter’s House during the Opening Weekender and BBC Radio Leeds our media partner.”
Between 15th September 15th and 29th September, more than 50 different events will be taking place - including an appearance by famous chef Ken Hom OBE, who will be attending the festival on the 29th to receive a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to developing and promoting Asian cuisine.
On 17th September, there will be an evening of curry-based banter with the festival’s patron, Hardeep Singh Kohli
Those lucky enough to see Hardeep perform will be treated to a hilarious, anecdote-packed show. The World Curry Festival will be serving a sumptuous curry buffet on the night – all included in the price.
Hardeep Singh Kohli first came to fame in 2004 with Channel 4’s Meet the Magoons which he wrote, directed and starred in. He has since appeared on numerous TV and Radio shows including The One Show, BBC’s Question Time, This Week with Andrew Neil, and Radio Four.
Hardeep’s love of food and sense of humour landed him the position of runner-up of the first ever series of Celebrity Masterchef.
The festival launches on Thursday 15th September at a gala dinner at Bradford Cathedral. Grand Master Chef Hemant Oberoi will oversee the preparations for the meal, which will be themed around the ‘Great British Curry’.
FOUNDER OF THE FESTIVAL: Zulfi Karim said curry is a great way to bring people together
Highlights of the 15-day food festival include:
An Opening Weekender in Bradford between Friday 16 to Sunday 18 September with three days of Street Food on Broadway; a food exhibition, masterclasses and cooking school at Kala Sangam Arts Centre; and an evening of curry and comedy with Hardeep Singh Kohli – also at Kala Sangam Arts Centre.
A street food market showcasing fresh street food from around the world on Broadway in Bradford between Friday 16 and Sunday 18 September; and at Wellington Place in Leeds in thanks to MEPC on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 September.
Pop-up Cookery Demos at Leeds Kirkgate Market between Monday 26 September and Thursday 29 September.
Faith in Food events at churches, mosques, temples and synagogues across Bradford and Leeds throughout the festival.
Organisers are inviting those with a passion for food and cultural events to get involved, a campaign support pack is available to download from the website. Follow @worldcurryfest on Twitter and Facebook for the latest festival news, programme announcements, competitions and events.
BUSY BUSY: Crowds turn out in their thousands to attend the annual World Curry Festival
Places of worship across Bradford and Leeds will be opening their doors to food lovers of all backgrounds this month as part of the World Curry Festival’s 2016 schedule of events.
Gurdwaras, mosques, synagogues, Hindu temples and churches have all signed up to join in with the festivities this year, offering different slants on curry favourites – from authentic Punjabi and Israeli feasts to a combination of scones and samosas.
The annual festival, which this year spans across Bradford and Leeds with a variety of events, promises to unite
Zulfi Karim, founder of the festival, said: “Food is traditionally used by all cultures and religions as a way of bringing people together, and that’s why we’re working with faith organisations to bring you a unique series of community focused events.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience new foods, as well as learn about the important role food plays in religious festivities.”
READY FOR LAUNCH: Zulfi Karim (centre) says the festival will cater for all families
While each pop-up event is planned to have its own identity, the overall aim according to organisers is for people from different communities to ‘meet, eat and have fun’.
Places of worship already confirmed to be taking part in the ‘Faith in Food’ project include: Bradford Reform Synagogue (Friday 16th September), Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara (Saturday 17th September) Shree Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple (Sunday 18th September) and St Paul’s Church (Tuesday 20th September.
A Bradford Mosque event is also set to be confirmed for Monday 19th September.
Tickets for these unique events are priced at £10 and spaces will be limited.
If you would like to find out more information about these events and more about what’s going on this year with the World Curry Festival, visit www.worldcurryfestival.com.
TURNING UP THE HEAT: Visit Bradford rounds off bid to become Curry Capital of Britain for sixth year running with collaborative fire-safety scheme
Curry Capital joins forces with the Yorkshire Fire Service
The Bradford District has rounded off its bid to be crowned Curry Capital of Britain by joining forces with the West Yorkshire Fire Service to launch an important fire-safety initiative.
Visit Bradford, together with the West Yorkshire Fire Service, has posted off this year's official entry into the competition with the hope of winning the prestigious title of Curry Capital of Britain for the sixth year running, while highlighting a fire-safety campaign, which is being targeted at restaurants across the region.
Tricia Tillotson, Tourism Manager at Visit Bradford, said: “The competition this year has been tougher than ever, but we have created a unique bid that is a celebration of curry across the district that we hope will be enough to retain our crown. We are delighted that Balvinder and the team at the West Yorkshire Fire Service have launched their safety initiative as part of Bradford's Curry Capital Bid.”
The fire service and the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) have engaged with Akbar's, Aakash, Kipplings and Shimla Spice; the four restaurants representing Visit Bradford in this year's Curry Capital of Britain competition. The purpose of the initiative is to engage restaurateurs in the Asian community across the Bradford District and beyond to share important fire safety messages while giving one-to-one advice on how to ensure fire-safety is a priority for the business.
Councillor Val Slater, Deputy Leader of Bradford District Metropolitan Council, said: “The Curry Capital of Britain competition creates a real sense of community throughout the Bradford District. The fact that Bradford has been crowned Curry Capital of Britain for five years running is testament to the fantastic food and drink offering in our city. To have the four restaurants from our team this year and the local fire service working together to promote fire safety across the Bradford District just goes to show that the competition really does brings cohesion to communities through curry right across the District.”
It is hoped that by building stronger links with businesses such as the restaurants representing the 2016 Curry Capital bid, the fire service can work to educate businesses and the local community on issues around and the importance of fire safety in the work place.
Balvinder Singh Bains, Service Manager at the West Yorkshire Fire Service, said: "This is just the first step of our new initiative and we're sure that as the campaign develops there will be lots of positive outcomes to be gained. We're delighted the four restaurants from this year's entry into the Curry Capital of Britian competition are joining forces to support our cause. With them leading the way, we're confident other businesses will learn from their example that robust health and safety systems are integral to having a successful business, and that in working collaboratively together to raise awareness of the importance of fire-safety, together we're reducing the risk posed to themselves, their staff and their customers”.
Voting for the winner of Curry Capital of Britain 2016 is now open. The initial competition will decide the Curry Capitals of England (minus London), Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The regional winners will then go head-to-head – along with London – to compete for the overall winner’s title of Curry Capital of Britain.
People can vote via www.visitbradord.com/currycapital, email email@example.com, or in person via the Visitor Information Centre. Voting closes for the Curry Capital of Britain competition on 1 September. The winner of the Curry Capital of England competition will be announced on 13 September, with the overall winner of the Curry Capital of Britain revealed week commencing 10 October.
Arriving on Yorkshire’s doorstep for 15 days of flavours, sights and sounds from around the world is the spiciest food festival around – the World Curry Festival.
With only one month to go until the delicious spice party opens in Bradford and Leeds, people across the county are beginning to gear up for over 50 different events that will be taking place between the 15th and 29th of September.
Celebrity chef Ken Hom OBE will be making a special appearance as he will be presented with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to developing and promoting Asian cuisine.
Zulfi Karim, Founder of the World Curry Festival: “Our key objective is to bring people together and curry is a great way to do this. We have an exciting new format, which has created new venues and partners across the region. Special events include our launch at the magnificent Bradford Cathedral.”
The festival launches on Thursday 15th September at a gala dinner at Bradford Cathedral. Grand Master Chef Hemant Oberoi will help prepare the menu, which will be themed around the ‘Great British Curry’.
Other highlights of the 15-day food festival include:
An Opening Weekender in Bradford between Friday 16th to Sunday 18th September with street food on Broadway; a food exhibition, masterclasses and cooking school at St Peter’s House (home to Kala Sangam Arts Centre); and an evening of curry and comedy with Hardeep Singh Kohli
A Cooking School with Stephanie Moon on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September at Leeds City College Printworks Campus
Pop-up Cookery Demos at Leeds Kirkgate Market between Monday 26th September and Thursday 29th September
Faith in Food events at various venues across Bradford and Leeds will see churches, mosques, temples and synagogues holding pop-up events to celebrate food used by different faiths in religious ceremonies and festivities
The World Curry Festival is a vibrant, fun and fresh event that brings people together in celebration of their love of food, culture and entertainment. Traditionally held over a long weekend, the event has attracted a huge following since it was first established in Leeds in 2010. The festival now takes place in Yorkshire and Malaysia each year.
Organisers are inviting those with a passion for food and cultural events to get involved, and help spread the word. A full programme of events is available online at www.worldcurryfestival.com
If you were to travel from Leeds to Rio in Brazil, it would be a trip that would be an exhausting long-haul flight of around 6,000 miles.
Thankfully, for hungry folk in Yorkshire, there is Cabana Brasilian Barbecue in Trinity Leeds which spins the compass and serves up food from South America to the North of England.
Home to the famous Spicy Malagueta Chicken (using the Brasilian Malagueta chilli) and other lipsmacking delicacies like Crispy Lula Squid and Cheesy Baked Doughballs, Cabana has got us stretching out our arms wider than Christ the Reedemer’s statue for its warm welcome to the food scene.
Serving halal-friendly food and vegetarian fare, along with their drool-inducing Brasilian barbecue, co-founder Jamie Barber and his business partner - Brasilian-born David Ponte – set up Cabana in 2012, bringing their own brand of casual dining to customers.
Jamie told the Asian Express: “I’ve always been captivated by ‘churrascarias’, Brasilian barbecues, or as I liked to call them, ‘the thing with the skewers’.”
CO-FOUNDERS: (Left to right) David Ponte and Jamie Barber have brought their Brasilian barbecue concept to Leeds Trinity shopping centre
The restaurateur, who also owns Hush in Mayfair, was mesmerised by the ‘grand ballet of giant skewers coming straight off the grill’ and knew that we would be, too.
“There was no-where that took the heart of Brasilian barbecue - the freshly grilled meat and giant barbecue skewers -and placed it within a modern setting,” Jamie explained.
The duo wanted to showcase the best of Brasil: the optimism, the vibrant ingredients and the heat and so Cabana was born.
Jamie added: “We want to transport our diners there so that they forget, even for an hour or so, that they’re in the UK.
“We aim to make sure that every part of the Cabana experience - from the taste of our best-selling chicken, Caipirinha cocktails and fruity refrescos, to the ‘upcycled’ interior - lifts our customers’ spirits and whisks them far away.”
Jamie and David said: “Expect fresh, bold flavours of flame-grilled skewers and Brasilian street food, friendly staff ready with a smile and a dynamic, colourful setting to enjoy it all in.”
There isn’t another restaurant quite like this one in Leeds that offers easy-going Brasilian food served in such a unique and jazzy way.
“But more than that, I think the Cabana experience is what makes us stand out from the crowd,” Jamie added.
“We aim to give customers a 360 degree experience, which means every element; from the lighting, to the music to the food and drink, dances in harmony like the Samba.”
So call in at Cabana: it’s so Brasilian – you’ll need your passport before you step through their doors.
GOING FOR GOLD: The Curry Capital team for 2016 have been revealed this week as they aim for their sixth successive crown
Familiar faces aiming for sixth successive title for Bradford
Four restaurateurs from Bradford are coming together to cook up some delicious delights...it can only mean one thing – the Curry Capital of Britain competition is back.
The city, which has been crowned victorious in the contest over the past five years, announced their official team earlier this week as they prepare to go head-to-head with the teams from across the country.
Following a public vote, locals have chosen Akbar’s, Shimla Spice, Aakash and Kiplings to work alongside Visit Bradford – the destination marketing organisation for Bradford Metropolitan District Council - in battling it out in the national competition to be crowned Curry Capital of Britain for the sixth consecutive year.
The team, which successfully navigated their way to title number five last year, already have experience in the competition and will be looking to cook up the winning formula once again this year.
Commenting on the team announcement, Tricia Tillotson, Tourism Manager at Visit Bradford, said: “We're delighted with the outcome of the public vote and look forward to working with the restaurants that the public has chosen to work alongside us, as part of this year's team.
“We've a huge task ahead of us if we're to defend our title, win the competition and bring the accolade of Curry Capital of Britain back to Bradford for a record-breaking sixth time.
“That said, I'm confident we have a strong bid and an even stronger team behind us and we will give it our all.”
Unlike previous years, the format of the 2016 competition is changing. The initial competition will decide Curry Capitals of England (minus London), Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
CHAMPIONS: Bradford are the reigning title holders and have not relinquished their crowns since their first win in 2011
The national winning teams, plus London, will then go head-to-head to compete for the title of Curry Capital of Britain.
Tricia continued: “The format of the competition this year means it's going to be tougher than ever to retain our crown as the Curry Capital of Britain.
“That said, we've some great plans up our sleeve and are excited to have some great partners on board to help deliver this year's bid.
“I really do hope locals, as well as curry lovers far and wide, get behind us and support us once again in the competition by voting for the city.”
People can vote for Bradford via www.visitbradord.com/currycapital, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or in person via the Visitor Information Centres.
Voting closes for the Curry Capital of Britain competition on 1st September 2016.
DEVASTATING: The Drummond Mill Fire destroyed much of the World Curry Festival’s infrastructure
Curry Festival to rise from the ashes
Over the past six years, the World Curry Festival has brought thousands of visitors to Bradford, all looking to sample some spicy delights from the official curry capital of Britain.
This year, festival founder Zulfi Karim, has vowed to come back even bigger and better than before, despite much of the equipment, culminated over recent years, being destroyed in the Drummond Mill blaze.
The grade II listed building which had dominated Bradford’s skyline since the late 1880s, was destroyed in January after an inferno took hold of the building.
The fire all but diminished the city’s vision for an arts and cultural hub to be created at the site, which Zulfi described as a ‘very sad loss to the district’.
It is in fact a double blow for the curry enthusiast, whose festival was also badly affected by the fire.
The World Curry Festival’s head offices were located in the original board room at Drummond Mills, whilst the company also used the storage facilities at the mill to house thousands of pounds’ worth of festival equipment.
RETURNING: World Curry Festival founder, Zulfi Karim (right) has vowed to bring back the annual event this year
“We lost our entire infrastructure and all the equipment we had built up over the years in that blaze,” Zulfi explained.
Finding an alternative site to re-house the festival is proving difficult for the team, yet Zulfi insists he is rising to the challenge.
Since returning from Malaysia – where the festival was taking place at the time of the fire, he has been working hard to find ways to build the business back up, and reinvent ways to hold a festival of the same calibre without access to its usual resources.
“Sadly, if you have been affected by fire the support is not there,” he said.
When asked ‘will the festival rise from the ashes?’ Zulfi remained eternally optimistic.
“We are in our seventh year,” he said, “and have come a long way in a relatively short space of time.
“We are becoming a regular fixture in the Yorkshire calendar, and a recognised international event. We have further to go.”
This year’s festival – the dates of which will be officially announced this month, is set to be bigger and more exciting than ever before.
The fire it seems has given new life to the festival whilst the hope remains that Bradford’s art and cultural sector will find the same determination to grow.
White fish fillet per person; either smoked haddock, but you could use cod (and it doesn’t have to be smoked)
THE FIRST INGREDIENT
Red onion Ginger
Passata or chopped tomato
Rapeseed oil, or groundnut oil, or just vegetable oil
Brown rice or couscous
6 step method:
FINGER LICKING GOOD: Al Doyle's recipe is quick, easy and super tasty!
1)Cut the fish into chunks and put it all into a bowl with some oil, turmeric, sea salt and pepper. Splash enough oil to coat it all nicely, and sufficient turmeric to turn it all yellow, probably about a teaspoon. Leave it to sit while you do some chopping.
2) Chop the onion and the ginger. You should use a thumb’s size of ginger to give it a good kick. And chop the chilli; however much you’d normally use.
3)Now go back to your fish. Get your pan good and hot with a little oil in it. Add the fish and fry quickly, turning it as necessary. You can be careful at this point and try and keep the fish together in bigger chunks for the sake of presentation, or you can just stir it around a bit more casually in which case it’ll break up a bit - but it doesn’t make much difference. Probably sizzle for about 6 or 7 minutes and it’ll be done, just starting to brown in places. Take it all out and put it back in the bowl.
4) Now, fry up your onions, ginger and chilli until the onions are translucent. If you’re adding passata, use the whole bottle, or if chopped tomatoes are your preference, then maybe two cans. Start reducing that down a bit on a lower heat. Also add the oyster sauce. I’m never sure how much of this to put in, probably around 3 tablespoons I’d guess, but it’s tasty so you shouldn’t worry about putting too much in. I add abit of soy sauce too, and black pepper. If it’s not spicy enough you can add in some extra cayenne pepper.
5)Then put the spinach in and put a lid on the pan. If you can’t get all the spinach in just do it bit by bit - a whole bag should easily disappear into the sauce.
6)Once the spinach is all wilted and mixed into the tomatoes you can make a little space in the middle of the pan and put the fish back in to heat up again. Now finely chop some spring onions, and throw those on top with the juice of half a lemon and a little more black pepper, at which point it’s ready to serve with some rice, or with some couscous. It looks really good on the table with its traffic-light colours.
PASSIONATE: Restaurant owner and food writer Nisha Katona will be giving curry masterclasses at Rochdale’s Feel Good Festival this summer (Pic cred: Twitter)
This summer will see the Rochdale Feel Good Festival bring its bright and breezy - and not to mention totally tasty - vibe to Manchester.
Indian curry chef Nisha Katona will be sharing her quick and easy dishes with foodies at the flavoursome festival, which runs from 19th to 20th August.
On the first day, the popular food writer, curry evangelist, teacher and owner of Manchester restaurant Mowgli will be cooking up her terrific tiffin treats on the food stage.
Nisha gave up her 20 year career as a barrister to focus on her passion for Indian food, opening popular restaurants in Liverpool and Manchester.
Famous for creating simple dishes that are a million miles away from the curry stereotype; her recipes are healthy, often vegan and always bursting with fresh flavour.
Nisha's writing features across various national media and her YouTube Channel has an international following.
Having spent her life between India and England she is passionate about curry making and the evolution of Indian cooking.
Her recipes promise authentic Indian dishes in 20 minutes using only a trio of three delicious spices.
Nisha’s first book – 'Pimp my Rice' was published in 2015 and she films for the Food Network as well as tweeting daily recipes to her 24,000 followers on Twitter.
New on the northern culinary scene for 2016, the festival’s food stage will be located inside a large marquee on The Esplanade by the town hall.
Nisha will be joined at the festival by the previously announced chef - and 'Eat Well for Less' television presenter - Chris Bavin; BBC Fusion Chef Aazam Ahmad and local star food-lover, Andrew Nutter.
More chefs will be announced soon, together with music acts on a line up which already includes The Fratellis, Alex Cornish, Boomin, The Twisted Dolls and The Bright Black.
To find out more about the festival, go to @FeelGoodFest on Twitter.
CURRY ROYALTY: Bradford will be aiming to become the official Curry Capital of Britain for the sixth year running in 2016
Bradford bidding to find the ‘magic curry formula’ once again
For the past half a decade, Bradford has been the unprecedented Curry Capital of Britain, landing the crown for five consecutive years.
Now, as the bidding process begins for the 2016 title, the city is once again aiming to make history as it looks to make it six in a row.
Visit Bradford, the destination marketing organisation for Bradford Council, will be organising the bid with voting now open for nominations for the restaurants that will form the bidding team.
People can vote for their favourite Asian restaurants from across the Bradford district, with the top four restaurants going forward to represent the district in the Curry Capital of Britain competition.
Patricia Tillotson, Tourism Manager for Bradford Council, said: “We have so many places to get a great curry in our district and we all have our favourite restaurants, so we want people to support theirs by voting in this competition.”
The Curry Capital of Britain is an annual competition which sees cities from all over the UK compete to be crowned the nation’s Curry Capital.
This year, the rules have changed and the competition will decide the Curry Capital of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland plus London who will all then compete for The Curry Capital of Britain title.
It’s expected that over 20 cities and regions will take part in the contest.
Peter Grove founder and organiser of the Curry Capital of Britain competition, said: “Bradford has found a magic formula and understands the underlying message of the event, which is to promote cohesion where there was division.
“They have also used curry as a bonding agent to bring different aspects of Bradford society together. We will be using Visit Bradford’s approach to the competition as a blueprint for other cities.”
As part of the competition, all entering cities must host a range of fundraising events, with proceeds going to The Curry Tree - a charitable fund, raising and allocating money to deserving causes concerned with poverty, disaster and malnutrition.
People can vote for their favourite restaurant to be part of Bradford’s Curry Capital bidding team in one of three ways: online at www.visitbradford.com/currycapital, via email at email@example.com, or in person at the Visitor Information Centres in Bradford, Haworth, Ilkley and Saltaire.
Voting closes for this stage of the Curry Capital of Britain competition on Monday 6th June.
LUXURIOUS TASTE: Mumtaz Leeds will become the first Indian restaurant in the UK to partner curry and caviar
Curry and Caviar...only at Mumtaz Leeds
Food aficionadas in Leeds will soon be able to experience a taste which Gordon Ramsey himself called ‘the Mediterranean’s best kept secret’ - as organic caviar arrives at Mumtaz Leeds.
Blending some of the restaurant’s most renowned dishes with a serving of the world-famous gastro-luxury, Mumtaz Leeds will launch their new, extended menu, later this month.
The restaurant is the only establishment in the entire Yorkshire and Humber region with the rights to serve caviar after signing an exclusive agreement with the Riofrio Caviar stockists, ExpomarketingUK.
GOURMET: A range of Riofrio caviars will be available from Mumtaz Leeds
Mumtaz Leeds owner, Rab Nawaz, says he has long had a hankering for caviar and was delighted to be able to bring the acquired taste to his menu at Clarence Dock.
“Caviar has always been an enjoyable food for me and there are so many health benefits to it,” he explained.
“I have used it at home in my cooking many times yet it wasn’t until recently that I thought, ‘why not bring this taste to the public?’
“So many people have never experienced caviar and we are delighted to be the only Indian restaurant in the UK to be serving curry and caviar.”
He added: “I didn’t just want any caviar for Mumtaz Leeds, it had to be the best. When I found Riofrio, with it being the world’s first organic caviar, I knew it was the right one for us.”
Riofrio Caviar is farmed in a small Andalusian town in Granada, where sturgeons live in the pure aquatic waters all year round.
The site obtained the world’s first certification of sturgeon and caviar in organic aquaculture in 2001 and continues to provide only the cleanest fresh waters for the fish to live in.
Thilak Abeysekera, director at ExpomarketingUK, was first approached by Mumtaz Leeds during a food expo as Rab was searching for a ‘special ingredient for his menu’.
“When Rab told me about his plans for curry and caviar I thought to myself ‘you’re a crazy man’,” Thilak said.
“However, the more I thought about it, and the more we spoke, this crazy idea seemed a brilliant one.
“He came down to London and we sat down to discuss the future for Riofrio caviar in Mumtaz Leeds and now here we are. I truly believe that Rab’s vision for this magnificent restaurant is something our caviar can only help make into a reality.”
ON THE MENU: Caviar will be introduced to Mumtaz’s menu in the very near future (pictured l-r) Mumtaz Leeds owner, Rab Nawaz, and ExpomarketingUK director, Thilak Abeysekera
REPRESENTATIVE: Award winning Malaysian chef, Norman Musa, was amongst the World Curry Festival team this year
World Curry Festival jets off to Malaysia
For the second year running, the Bradford-born World Curry Festival has once again cooked up a storm on the international scene, with a return to Malaysia for the International Halal Expo.
Running from Friday 29th to Sunday 31st January in the heart of Penang, the festival celebrates foods from around the world with traders promoting and marketing an array of halal products.
The World Curry Festival team were a highlight of the show last month, with British chefs, Michael Weaver and Rahila Hussain, joining up with Malaysian and Pakistani representatives.
A range of British curry and speciality dishes were cooked up across the three-day programme of events, in front of hundreds of business leaders, exhibitors and traders from across South East Asia.
Speaking ahead of the trip, Zulfi Karim, founder of the World Curry Festival, said the conference was a great chance to showcase British talent in Asia.
“As well as presenting British curry specialities, we will be staging dazzling food demonstrations, which we hope will entice the audience here in Malaysia,” he said.
“Our aim is to ‘spice up the show’, and bring a flavour of the West to this magnificent event.
FOODIES: World Curry Festival founder, Zulfi Karim, with chef Nurimkhalim Raza and Malaysian State Minister for Religious Affairs and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Abdul Malik
“Having just celebrated five years of the festival in Yorkshire, it is a dream come true to be exhibiting on the global food stage.
“We are truly delighted to be participating at the International Hala Expo, and we very much look forward to sharing talents, as well as learning new skills and meeting new people.”
The conference – a platform for exhibitors and trade clients from across Southeast Asia, West Asia and Europe, offers an opportunity for businesses to promote and market halal products.
It is attended by organisations from Malaysia, Belgium, Thailand, Pakistan, Algeria, The Netherlands, Sharjah, and the UAE.
It was an invitation from the State Government of Penang that initially sparked the World Curry Festival’s interest in the event.
The Honourable Dato’ Haji Abdul Malik Kassim, the Malaysian State Minister for Religious Affairs and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, was responsible for signing the agreements with the World Curry Festival.
Mr Kassim commented: “The Penang International Halal Expo & Conference will see the World Curry Festival to be hosted in Penang, Malaysia’s city of gastronomy. The Penang State Government looks forward to welcoming chefs and visitors to the festival in Malaysia.”
CELEBRATIONS: The Curry Capital bid team are all smiles with their fifth trophy in a row
For the past five years, Bradford has been the unprecedented curry capital of Britain, scooping the annual title year-on-year despite fierce competition from over 20 cities across the country.
Last month, the West Yorkshire representatives picked up their fifth straight title with the bid team finally able to get their hands on the trophy on Wednesday 11th November.
A special Lord Mayor's Civic Reception was held to celebrate the team’s incredible achievements where the title was officially unveiled by Lord Mayor, Cllr Joanne Dodds.
Cllr Dodds presented the trophy to the triumphant bid team and praised the whole city’s contribution to the award.
“The whole team has worked extremely hard to achieve the Curry Capital award and I am delighted to see all that effort rewarded once again this year,” she said.
“This is a truly magnificent achievement. To secure the title for a fifth consecutive year is mould-breaking and a fantastic accolade for our city.
“I would just like to thank everyone for their hard work and support and here’s to six years on the trot.”
The Lord Mayor was joined by stakeholders and partners from previous year’s bids as well as the 2015 team for the reception, including representatives from the restaurants: Akbars, Aakash, Kiplings and Shimla Spice.
This year saw Visit Bradford and the restaurant team work alongside Bradford's Probation Office and the Fresh Start for 4U project to produce a Curry Capital Garden as part of the flagship project in their bid.
There was also a Peshwari Paws Teddy Bear's Picnic and chapatti challenge organised to bring communities together.
Speaking on behalf of the businesses, Mohammed Rafiq, of Kiplings, said: “This year, the other cities competing for the Curry Capital title had our blueprint to work to. On paper it looks good but without the unity we have, as restaurateurs, it will not lead to success.
“Patricia Tillotson (Visit Bradford) and the gang have done a fantastic job coming together with the council in recent years and that is the true blueprint to success, not what is on paper.
We never thought we could win five years in a row but thanks to everybody’s help in the city we have been able to achieve this.”
Exporting the British curry to South East Asia creating a tastebud-popping sensation in Malaysia
In its first foray overseas, the World Curry Festival received a rapturous welcome in Malaysia as it premiered at the 6th Penang International Halal Expo and Conference (PIHEC).
The three-day conference, featured at the aptly named Spice Arena, saw the World Curry Festival bring its international chefs, from the UK, India, Pakistan as well as Malaysia, who dazzled the audiences with a focus on the ‘Great British Curry’.
The highlight of the trip saw the World Curry Festival host an exclusive gala dinner in Penang for heads of state, international diplomats and dignitaries from across the region.
The ‘Gastro Diplomacy’ World Curry Festival Gala Dinner took place on Friday 30th January in the grand ballroom of the famous Eastern & Oriental hotel, on Penang Island, the latter was once named ‘Prince of Wales Island’ after it was discovered by Sir Frances Light.
The Eastern & Oriental hotel proved a fantastic choice of venue with guests being spoilt by an amazing menu in a backdrop full of heritage and splendour.
The dinner was attended by heads of state, Her Excellency, Victoria Treadell – British High Commissioner to Malaysia, and His Excellency Syed Hassan Raza – the Pakistani High Commissioner to Malaysia, and diplomats from Japan, Belgium, Indonesia and Pakistan.
Numerous dignitaries from across the region also attended including: His Excellency Tun Dato’ Seri Utama (Dr) Haji Abdul Rahman Bin Haji Abbas – the Governor of Penang; Lim Guan Eng – the Chief Minister of Penang; Dr Ong Hong Peng – Secretary General for Ministry of Tourism and Culture in Malaysia; and Haji Abdul Malik Kassim – the State Minister for Religious Affairs, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.
The British-themed menu – designed by the founder of the World Curry Festival, Zulfi Karim, comprised of a combination of Raj-inspired dishes such as ‘mulligatawny soup’ and ‘kedgeree’ as well as more modern day favourites, such as ‘chicken tikka masala’ and ‘lamb vindaloo’.
Bradford man, and founder of the World Curry Festival, Zulfi Karim, explains why he decided to export the British curry to South East Asia.
“The premise of the World Curry Festival Malaysia was to form global links with British colonial connections, while promoting the global phenomenon that curry is,” he said.
“South East Asia is becoming ever popular with travellers and foodies, who flock to see the beautiful sights and taste the wonderful food flavours.
“Countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia are particularly famous for their street food, and are proving very popular with foodies and professional chefs alike.
“Penang is well established as a centre for food, so it seemed fitting to take the festival there on our first overseas venture.”
Bradford man takes ‘World Curry Festival’ to international heights
FAMOUS: World renowed Chef Hermant Oberoi is one of the celebrity chefs
Many have earned esteem for exporting sand to Arabia, but how many have taken curry to Asia?
This year the World Curry Festival founded in Bradford - the city which holds the title ‘Curry Capital of Britain’, will be doing just that when it transports some of it finest curry chefs and recipes to Malaysia.
The World Curry Festival is set to premiere at the 6th Penang International Halal Expo and Conference between 30th January and 1st February 2015.
Penang, an island situated on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is famous as a centre for food, and historically known as ‘The Pearl of Orient’.
As part of the event, the World Curry Festival will also be hosting an exclusive gala dinner at the Eastern Oriental Hotel in George Town – a UNESCO world heritage site.
Dignitaries and VIPs attending the exclusive black-tie dinner include Penang’s State Governor, Chief Minister and Minister of Tourism and Culture, along with a host of international ambassadors, and representatives of the British High Commission.
Zulfi Karim, founder of the World Curry Festival, has personally designed the menu for the gala dinner.
Commenting on the theme for the evening, he said: “The World Curry Festival gala dinner in Malaysia will be dedicated to ‘gastrodiplomacy’ – a kind of ‘cultural diplomacy’.
“We first fell in love with the phrase when the World Curry Festival 2014 was officially opened by Mathew Barzun, the US Ambassador to the UK.
“Having such a high profile figure open last year’s event in Bradford inspired us to concentrate on bringing the world together through curry.
ATTENDING: Chef Norman Musa
“This is one of the festival’s main aims, and we are delighted our first venture outside of the UK will be Malaysia.”
The World Curry Festival will be bringing a team of renowned celebrity chefs from the UK, Pakistan, India and of course Malaysia, to the Halal Expo and Conference.
The team will showcase their culinary skills in the aptly named ‘Spice Arena’ with a full programme available on www.worldcurryfestival.com
Each of the cookery demonstrations at the World Curry Festival in Malaysia will focus on the ‘Great British Curry’.
The festival, which was originally inspired by the 200 year anniversary of the first curry house to open in the UK, is an advocate of the curry industry, and at its inaugural event in 2010, in Leeds, it recognised this important milestone.
Five years on, the festival is celebrating taking a ‘great British institution’ global and yes...‘chicken tikka masala’ will be on the menu in Malaysia.
Mr Karim comments: “The curry industry is worth £4billion to the British economy. The UK boasts some of the best curry chefs in the world alongside Michelin-starred curry restaurants and many famous curry brands.
“Taking the World Curry Festival to Malaysia is a great opportunity to do business ‘over a curry’ as well as building relations with other cultures and traditions.”
World Curry Festival announced Bradford City Park from 20th – 22nd June
In less than 100 days’ time, the World Curry Festival 2014 will once again see Bradford’s City Park transformed into a world of tastes, flavours and dazzling demonstrations, cookery shows, celebrity chefs, pop-up restaurants, street food, shopping, music and entertainment.
With the main activities taking place between Friday 20th and Sunday 22nd June, the World Curry Festival this year opens with a glitzy gala dinner on Thursday 19th June at the Cedar Court Hotel, in Bradford.
The fifth World Curry Festival will also see audiences eating their words this year, as a new collaboration with Ilkley Literature Festival presents Poetry in the City, a fun-filled programme of over three days incorporating workshops, a multi-lingual Mushaira and open-mike poetry events. The line-up includes national names and regional treasures from the world of poetry.
Ilkley Literature Festival director Rachel Feldberg comments: “We have brought together a fantastic blend of poets from all over the north of the country including some special performances by world class poets.
“We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with the World Curry Festival where we can offer food for thought, at the same time as having some fun.
“Poetry has always been an important element of the Ilkley Literature Festival and it is great that we are able to create a platform for a younger generation of poets to perform alongside and be inspired by some of the best known poets of our generation.”
World Curry Festival Director and Founder Zulfi Karim explains: “For me, curry and culture blend together so seamlessly. Just like food, poetry is something that is far better shared.
“The art offers another reason for people to come together and share an experience. Poetry is food for the soul, so lends itself brilliantly to what this festival is all about.”
Other highlights of the curryfest include exciting Indian and food-themed drama performances in association with Bradford Theatres, and the much-anticipated finals of Bradford College’s Junior Chef Competition.
Looking back on the past few years, Zulfi comments: “It will be a truly memorable year for the World Curry Festival.
“We’ve taken the best elements from previous years and combined them in a spectacular programme, which offers something for everyone. We’ll be celebrating the wonders of curry with master chefs from around the world, through poetry and drama, and by involving young people in a Junior Chef competition.”
The World Curry Festival attracts in the region of 30,000 visitors over a three day period. It is fast becoming a regular fixture in Bradford’s summer programme.
Follow World Curry Festival on Facebook worldcurryfest and Twitter @worldcurryfest
After witnessing a rise in Bradford’s homeless population, a leading women’s group in the city launched a pioneering initiative last month, which continues to grow from strength to strength.
The Curry Circle, set up by The Muslim Women’s Council, aims to help those less fortunate across the Bradford district by giving them access to a free hot curry on a weekly basis.
Based at the Carlisle Business Centre every Thursday evening, warm food is dished out to visitors who may be struggling financially at that point in their lives.
FOOD: Curry Circle volunteers hand out food to the homeless at the Carlisle Business Centre during the latest event on Thursday 23rd January
With shower facilities and hot drinks also on offer, it is an ideal place for the homeless to escape the cold and not only enjoy a warm meal but also conversation in a safe environment.
At the latest event, held on Thursday 23rd January, food was kindly donated by Mumtaz restaurant with almost 70 people visiting to receive their meals.
Bana Gora, Curry Circle founder and Muslim Women’s Council founding member, was delighted to welcome so many diners to the latest event and explained why the work the volunteers were doing was vital for the community.
“Since we set up it has been a case of so far so good to be honest,” she said.
“We have been able to get a good insight into the minds of people who are struggling at this moment in their lives and it also helps create awareness for the need of programmes like this.
“The popularity is increasing on a weekly basis with people not only coming down for the food but also for conversation and warmth which they may also be missing.”
She added: “Unfortunately, even in the 21st century here in England we still have people suffering from poverty so initiatives like this are vital.”
Figures from homelessness charity, Shelter, taken from data from the Department for Communities and Local Government, revealed that more than 140 children in Bradford, from 73 families, are officially classed as homeless.
The Muslim Women’s Council run the Curry Circle every Thursday, from 7pm to 8pm at the Carlisle Business Centre. If anybody would like to volunteer with the Curry Circle project please contact the group on 01274 223 230.
Two local restaurants in Leeds have been named within the ‘Top 16’ of the country by a prestigious Curry Guide.
Hansa’s Vegetarian restaurant, on North Street, Leeds, and Azram’s Sheesh Mahal, on Kirkstall Road, were both recognised by Pat Chapman’s Cobra Good Curry Guide for their outstanding food and service.
Azram’s has been in the heart of Leeds for more than 20 years and has seen thousands of customers pass through the doors.
RESTAURANT: Azram’s Sheesh Mahal owner, Azram Chaudhry, receives his award for the top West Yorkshire restaurant from Good Curry Guide founder, Pat Chapman
On Tuesday 2nd December it was awarded the ‘Best West Yorkshire Restaurant’ accolade in front of invited guests, including customers from the 20plus group - diners who have been visiting the restaurant for more than two decades.
Azram Chaudhry, owner of Azram’s Sheesh Mahal, said he was ‘happy’ to receive the award but insists there is more to life than ‘a piece of paper’.
“A piece of paper is a simple way to say we love you and your food,” he said. “Of course it is nice to know you are doing something right in the eyes of others but for me it is all about my diners.
“They are my extended family and there is nothing more that I cherish.”
Hansa’s Gujarati restaurant also scooped a top award for the ‘Best Indian Vegetarian Restaurant in the UK’.
A similar presentation event was held at the establishment on Wednesday 3rd December, during the day, whilst an evening reception was also staged with more than 100 attendees.
Speaking after receiving the award, owner, Hansa Dabhi said: “Being nominated the Best Indian Vegetarian Restaurants in the UK is the icing on top of my Christmas Cake.
“To receive such an accolade from such a prestigious food guide is what every restaurateur dreams of.”
Pat Chapman, founder of the Good Curry Guide, explained what it meant for a restaurant to receive such an award and praised both dining hotspots for their ‘fantastic setups’.
“I have been doing this guide since 1984 yet it is the public’s opinions and reviews which ultimately decide who the top restaurants are,” Mr Chapman said.
“For both Azram’s and Hansa’s to be included in the Top 16 in the country is not only great for them but also the city.
“It is great to be giving these awards to the two deserved recipients.”